Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg

In The Pull of the Moon, Nan does something that I imagine most of us have dreamed of doing at one time or other in our lives: she leaves her old life behind, embarking on a road trip of self-discovery.

I enjoyed this novel very much. On one level, Nan’s journey has all the elements of “too good to be true”. For one thing, she’s lucky enough to have enough money to go on this trip, to be able to drive where she wants, stay where she wants, eat what she wants, for as long as she wants. But when one looks beyond the premise, deep into the heart of the novel, one finds something that sings in its authenticity.

Nan is not running away; she’s running toward, toward a place where “My mind was in my heart, anchored like a bright kite in a safe place.” Parts of the novel are laugh-out-loud funny; other scenes are particularly poignant.

Berg captures that sense of loss of self using the smallest things, things we wouldn’t normally even think about:

When I got to the grocery store, the oddest thing happened. I found it very, very difficult to buy anything. I would pick something up, then think, no, it’s Ruthie who really likes pineapple. No, Martin is the one who loves London broil. I wanted to get something special, a real treat, something I liked to cook and liked even more to eat, but everything I picked up, I put back. Finally, I leaned against the dairy case and thought, well, come on, Nan, what do YOU really, really like? And then I thought, my God, I don’t know. I’ve forgotten.

We get to follow along as Nan begins to rediscover her own perspective on life, a woman-centered perspective that touches on so many familiar things. She describes being fifty as

an impossible age in many ways. Not old. Not young. Not old, no. But oh, not young. What it is, is being in the sticky middle, setting one gigantic thing aside in order to make room for the next gigantic thing, and in between, feeling the rush of air down the unprotected back of the neck.

Nan’s physical journey may not be particularly realistic; after all, who among us could really take such a road trip, with no destination in mind other than coming to a much-needed self-understanding? But it doesn’t matter. Nan takes the journey for us as well as for herself; through her we are able to do what our particular personal resources might prevent us from doing.

As Nan says after finding herself unable to resist buying a pink biker’s sleeveless T-shirt, “Do you want this? life seems to be saying. Is this what you want? Well, take it, then. What do you think it’s here for?” And the rest of the book explores how she comes to fully embrace what life is telling her.

This was not a favorite book for me. I remember having a lot of those feelings, but I remember being told that the 50s are the best years of your life so I tried to make them that. They are the years when your children are old enough to allow you more time for yourself and you finally have a few pennies to do a few more things that you want to do. Guess I just got lucky that my 'period' of unrest was short lived. Not a book that I would recommend. I bought it because a worker at the store recommended it to me. Guess her tastes are different than mine.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Fun

We went our Son and Daughter-in-law's home for Easter Dinner. The girls are getting to a very fun age.

Punkin loves getting into the playhouse. I really fits her perfectly doesn't it? Love that smile.

The Easter Egg Hunt was more for the 'big' girls, but Punkin loved playing with the eggs. Just her size.

Muffin would get an egg and sit and open it. Then think about getting another one lol. Here she is just sitting and being pretty.

Peanut definitely knows the drill and you can tell when you see how full her basket is compared to Muffin's. She was just so excited to be getting eggs.

We handed out prizes for eggs when we got back in the house and bubbles were part of the package. They loved making bubbles on the back patio and they were both pretty good at it.

It seems like every time we're there we see how many we can fit into the playhouse. This time my son was it with the three girls. Punkin saw Daddy and the other big girls in there and just lit up. She loves it.

I'm a little disappointed in the pictures, but you get what you get :). The girls are just so much prettier than these pictures. I noticed too that we didn't get any of the adults in their Easter finery. Oh well, I'll take notes and do a better job next time NOT! How was your Easter?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fun Day Off

If I didn't have to work for a living I would have a lot more fun :) I was trying to come up with a dessert for Easter, and I found some fun cupcakes for the kids. Usually I come up with something more adult, but the kids are of the age where they'll really think these are fun.

Are these bunny faces and chicks in their baskets not fun?

The bunnies are just two ears (marshmallows cut in half then sprinkled with pink sugar), mini m & m's for eyes, jelly belly nose and two mini marshmallows for the mouth/cheeks. Cute huh?

This one is even simpler. Just frost, plop a peep in the middle, add a few jelly bellys and then sprinkle with green sprinkles. The example had green coconut for the grass, but I thought the girls wouldn't like the coconut so I just went with sprinkles. (it appears I need a steadier hand with the camera)

I didn't want to end up with a lot of cupcakes so I just made a dozen and used the rest of the batter to make these mini pecan cinnamon bundt cakes. I don't make cupcakes often, but I invariably forget that they don't take a lot of batter. I put too much in everything lol. Luckily I didn't spill over into the clean and newly repaired oven. A whole nother story.

Another thing that I had planned for my day off was to clean up some of my projects laying around. While in Georgia in the Spring we went to The Scarlet Thread, a quaint quilting shop. They had kits for making potato and corn bags. I've made potato bags before, but had never heard of a corn bag. Same principle, only the bag is bigger for corn. They also had a potato and a corn fabric. Because these bags go in the microwave oven you MUST use everything cotton. I've since learned to also tell recipients that you must watch while using them too. My sister's caught on fire while in use. I know I used all 100% cotton so I don't know what happened... maybe her microwave has a stronger wattage? Whatever, whenever using these fabric bags in the micro always stay in the area and watch them cooking. I will continue to use mine because they produce a quick moist baked potato. Can't wait to try out the corn bag.

Don't you love the corn fabric?

More projects await, but it's such a nice day that we're off to enjoy our first of the season (in Michigan) motorcycle ride. Do we ever finish up all of our projects? I can think of at least three or four that I'm currently working on. Guess that just leaves me with something to look forward to. ;)

A Blessed and Happy Easter to all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Run For Your Life by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

A calculating killer who calls himself The Teacher is taking on New York City, killing the powerful and the arrogant. His message is clear: remember your manners or suffer the consequences! For some, it seems that the rich are finally getting what they deserve. For New York's elite, it is a call to terror. Only one man can tackle such a high-profile case: Detective Mike Bennett. The pressure is enough for anyone, but Mike also has to care for his 10 children-all of whom have come down with virulent flu at once! Discovering a secret pattern in The Teacher's lessons, Detective Bennett realizes he has just hours to save New York from the greatest disaster in its history. From the #1 bestselling author comes RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, the continuation of his newest, electrifying series.

Not your usual Patterson, in my opinion. Some of the dialog hinted at harlequinism and I'm not a fan of Harlequins. Almost made me chuckle a few times. It was a quick read though and kept my interest to the end.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Word Verification

I know how much I hate word verification and I know a few of my readers that do too. Unfortunately, I'm getting so much spam and garbage that I had to reinstate this process. Hope it's not too much of an inconvenience.

Baking Cookies

Our oldest granddaughter came for a sleepover this weekend. I thought I'd have lots of planned activities for her to keep her busy. It really wasn't necessary. She played with Barbies for hours. I did tell her we'd make cookies though so we fit that in Sunday after Sunday School.

She liked stirring and got very serious about it.

We needed a third person to be a photographer. I noticed later that I didn't get a picture of the baking or finished product. :( Maybe next time someone else will be around.

On Saturday night we attempted to do a tie fleece blanket for her. She took the two fabrics and said "this one is for Muffin and I'll take this one".. No, I said, the two have to be tied together like mine and Papa's. Okay then they were both for her... sorry Muffin the sharing is over lol. She's only 3 and the tying was a little too much for her. I'd show her and she'd just twist the two pieces. Ultimately I just formed the knots and let her pull the two ends to tighten them. That lasted for about 15 to 20 ties then I was on my own with her crawling all over the blanket lol.

We had to go out late on Saturday to get Papa from the Airport Car Rental place and she was a real trooper. I put her coat on her at 12:15 a.m. and had her walk up stairs then I carried her to the car and covered her with her new blanket. She was asleep almost immediately and slept til the car stopped. I don't think she really woke up, but her eyes were open lol. We got home around 3:30 a.m. and as I tucked her in she said "Oh, we forgot my story." Sorry, not tonight... we didn't forget anything. We lived our adventure :) Being an only child she really entertains herself well and just likes to show you things.

On the 14th of May I get to have my other two granddaughters for a sleepover. I have a lot of fun bonding with them and watching them in a different environment than their own. They are just constantly exploring. We'll also see everyone over Easter so hopefully I'll have more pictures on Monday.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fertilize Friday 4/15/11

I'm taking part in Fertilize Friday hosted by Tootsie. She always has lots of followers and lots of great ideas on gardening among other things. Check her out.. you won't be disappointed.

My yard is in need of lots of Spring cleanup. Last Sunday was a good day, but we got busy and I didn't spend any time in the garden. I'm sure it won't go away... I'll catch it another time. Lots of leaves to clean up and twigs to be picked up.

These pretties look like little starlights. Don't remember the name, but they're planted up front by the daffodils.

The tulips are on their way. Should have some color in a couple of weeks.

Love the crocuses. They looked better last week, but I did catch their color. See what I mean about lots of leaves :)

I want to do something with this side of the house this year. These two burning bushes are doing well. MM bricked out the bed last year. It now needs lots of fill and some little plantings. I think it is the southeast or southwest side. It has lots of shade and there's lots of moss in the grass. I'll have to give this more thought.

These little starlight things are popping up in the grass in the backyard. Just kind of scattered all around.

The Neon Sedum is coming up nicely. If I remember correctly they got eaten by either deer or bunnies. I'll have to get out there early and give them some protection.

Coreopsis is making an early start.

Daylilies are looking good. Don't look at the dried up leaves lol

Chicks and hens look so pretty this time of year.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the hollyhock coming up. At least 3 of the 6 are making a start. Hope the others come through.

I received this potted azaela with ivy from my niece upon the recent death of my Mother. Miss you Mom :(.

A mum I got from another friend. Gotta find nice homes for these in a few weeks.

So there you have it. Definitely signs of life and lots of clean up to be done. It's supposed to rain this weekend and the next weekend is Easter. It's funny how the weekends fill up so quickly. I used to go to my Mothers after work most nights and now that time has sadly been given back to me. Maybe that will be my new gardening time.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by Kevin & Alex Malarkey

In 2004, Kevin Malarkey and his six-year-old son, Alex, suffered an horrific car accident. The impact from the crash paralyzed Alex—and medically speaking, it was unlikely that he could survive. “I think Alex has gone to be with Jesus,” a friend told the stricken dad. But two months later, Alex awoke from a coma with an incredible story to share. Of events at the accident scene and in the hospital while he was unconscious. Of the angels that took him through the gates of heaven itself. Of the unearthly music that sounded just terrible to a six-year-old. And, most amazing of all . . . Of meeting and talking to Jesus. The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven is the true story of an ordinary boy’s most extraordinary journey. As you see heaven and earth through Alex’s eyes, you’ll come away with new insights on miracles, life beyond this world, and the power of a father’s love.

I received this book from a friend and coworker Tammy upon the death of my Mother. It was an interesting read... don't know if I'd describe it as spiritual, religious, motivational..?? Horrific story that didn't have positive results, but the way that the family managed to overcome and go on was amazing. It would truly have to be a work of God to go through what this family did and come out the way that they did. God truly works in mysterious ways and this book describes it beautifully.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sad Decision Made

I had a feeling that today a decision would have to be made. I was surprised when I got home from work because MM was gone, but Daisy was still here. My 'WIMP' of a husband couldn't do it by himself. He had decided that she had to go back so I made him call Julie and then he made me come with him to take her back. She loves the dog and wanted her back. She has a couple of others that are interested in Daisy. She won't be hard to place. She is that adorable. The only thing I know for sure is that if any dog was going to work it would be Daisy. So we are NOT going to get a dog. I think we have just gotten so used to having less responsibility and weren't ready to take more on. A pet is a big responsibility. We've been free of that responsibility for too long and are just not up to that again.

We're both sad, but relieved.

Sweet Daisy

This is a long wordy post with a lot of searching and feeling.... I won't be offended if you can't make it to the end. I don't think I ever want to read it again lol.

So, we picked up this adorable Bichon on Sunday. It's owner has to go into an assisted living environment and cannot take her along. We've talked about getting a dog again several times and always talked ourselves out of it. We've been without a pet for almost 17 years. We had Chrissy, a little pekeapoo for 18 years and she was a perfect pet. She didn't mess in the house, didn't bark, she let us pet her when we wanted and left us alone at other times. Yes, she would be hard, if not impossible, to replace.

Through the years we tried two times. Once we got a shitzu from my nephew and it was very aggressive with us. Come to find out he was acquiring diabetes and my nephew took him back and they nursed him to the end... daily shots and the works. Another time we picked up a weird little dog from the pound. It's owner had gotten tired of him and instead of a peaceful transition to a final resting place they chose to pass him on to another unsuspecting owner to try to deal with. He had dominance issues and humped everything in sight as well and leaving his scent on everything in the house. Yup, didn't work.

So here we are, we picked up Daisy early Sunday and went to our Son and DIL's for the day. Daisy was a good little traveller, jumping from the front to back seats and back. She finally settled in MM's lap while he drove. We're thinking that since she came from a home with a single lady she's used to sitting on the drivers lap and we went along with the old program. Once I looked around and saw nose prints on all the windows lol. Okay, I can get used to that. I got a little concerned when she started scratching at the windows... they have a tinting film on the inside and it probably won't hold up to that kind of abuse. We'll work on that.

She was great with other animals and the kids. We had one scare when I thought she bit Muffin. Daisy was hiding behind me in the chair trying to escape Jake trying to entice her to play with him. Muffin came up and tried to give her her sippy cup. I said "No, Muffin don't give the dog your juice." The next thing I know Muffin is crying and I thought "what's going on?" Then I saw two puncture wounds on her hand and I freaked out. Did the dog somehow bite her without my knowing? You would think I would have heard or felt something. The dog was right behind me. DIL says 'no, those are from her IV last week at the hospital'. WHEW!!! Muffin was just upset because I said 'no' and she was a little tired. Note to self.... don't say 'no' to the grandkids. What was I thinking lol. I love those girls. They are the best!!

Back to the dog. We fed and watered her when we got home and settled into the evening. Oh, back up. We sat on the porch for a while and she was great. She only barked once at a squirrel or a bird or something. As the evening wound down we decided to go to bed. We got a little pillow for her and put it on the floor next to the bed. You guessed it. She's used to sleeping on the bed lol. We could hear her walking around as her little nails tap tapped against the hardwood floors. A couple of times she came to my side and reached up to me. I just pet her and said 'go lay down' and she did. There was even a very bad storm that night that the thunder was so loud that it shook the house. She was great through all of that. We found her in the morning on the loveseat in the livingroom.

Morning came and MM found a wet spot in the main bathroom on the rug. She was trained with 'piddle pads' because the lady couldn't always let her out. Hence, the pads. Not a good thing. And I think this breed does have some trouble with potty training as a general rule. When I got home MM was not happy. He said she followed him everywhere and just whined. She wants to be held and petted all the time. lol I'm laughing because it's him and not me. :) And he's telling me 'we made a big mistake, we're too set in out ways for this'. Once while he was carrying a big log to the fire pit she got tangled up with him and he almost dropped the log on her... not a good thing. And when he'd leave her in the house she would scratch at the door to get out and when she wants in she scratches at the door. She doesn't bark when she wants something, she whines and scratches. I didn't think too much of it til she started scratching at the cupboards. Pretty sure people don't declaw dogs lol.

So, we're in a definite dilemma. Do we keep this adorable dog and see what we can do with her. We're thinking of putting the screen on the front and back doors, but that's not going to be pretty. And what about travelling? I'm sure she'll handle the driving okay, but what about the screen door and the window treatments? And then again, the occasional piddle on the carpet? Ugh!? Last night at church I found myself not paying attention to the sermon at all, I was just praying about our situation. No answer came to me. She slept on the loveseat and chair in the living room last night and was quiet most of the night. I only heard her walking around our room once.

I emailed the daughter that we got her from last night and said I wasn't sure how this was working out. Her response was very sweet. "I'm glad I can take her back if it doesn't work out. Let me know." Her feelings were about the same as ours. The dog is so sweet. Her husband was very attached, but she was the one that had to take care of her... and she's 'needy'. And as a daughter that just went through all that this lady is going through I feel for her. She's so busy with her Mom and then to have to deal with the situation of the dog too.

And she is adorable isn't she?

So, I've left it up to MM. If she's not there when I get home I'll understand. If she is still there then we'll work on her few issues. If we're ever going to get another dog this is probably the best fit. I keep saying "she's just so sweet" and she is.

I've tried to examine why we even thought we wanted a dog. Like I said, we've been without one for many years. Was it so the grandkids would have a little pet at our house? They have pets at home. Was it to keep us company? We really are comfortable just the two of us. The correct answer is probably to give a needy pet a home, but I don't think I'm that generous. Maybe we really aren't pet people. I've examined that too. My Dad was a dog person. Of course, he couldn't relate to people very well. When I was in my 30's I contacted him and thought "why didn't you love me like that?" lol. He just didn't know how. But he sure knew how to show affection to the dogs :). Guess I'm just as human as the next person, I always want what I don't have and when I get it I realize that I really didn't want it that much to begin with. Frustrating. No one can solve this for us. We'll have to do a lot of soul searching and decide what's best for us. Daisy is so adorable this is not the last chance for her. If we don't keep her she'll find a very loving home. She is just that adorable and 'sweet'. Did I say that a lot? But she is, she is just so 'sweet'.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Caught by Harlan Coben

17 year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst. Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate—and nationally televised—sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined. In a novel that challenges as much as it thrills, filled with the astonishing tension and unseen suburban machinations that have become Coben’s trademark, Caught tells the story of a missing girl, the community stunned by her loss, the predator who may have taken her, and the reporter who suddenly realizes she can’t trust her own instincts about this case—or the motives of the people around her.

Haven't read a Coben book in a while. This was a thriller that definitely held my attention. Scary stuff because it happens all the time. The scariest part to me is that everything you read on the internet isn't always true and so many times people take it as gospel. Another computer geek kind of thing and one that goes back years in the lives of college suite mates. Good read.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Muffin Turns Two

We celebrated Muffin's second birthday a week late since we were out of town on her calendar birthday. I love to see our three girls get together. They still don't really play together, but they sure do watch each other. Muffin loved all of her new toys and so did Peanut and Punkin.

She looks so much older than 2!!

Checking out their new tattoos.

Punkin is growing up WAY to fast.

Papa always has the girls crawling all over him ;)

Mom and Dad with the birthday girl.

Love the little waves in Muffin's hair. Again, just checking out things together.

So there you have it. Another fun day with the family. Pretty sure our son got some pretty good pictures too and I'll have to go snag some from him :) In July the girls will be 1, 2, and 3 for two days before Peanut turns 4. They really are growing up too fast.